“He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spat upon; they will scourge Him and kill Him …” (Luke 18:32)
All of this—it was not only the torture that Jesus underwent. It is the daily occurring acts by which everywhere on earth people are broken. History repeats itself countless times. And always we stand powerless as bystanders, as witnesses and as spectators, as long as we are not involved ourselves as perpetrator or victim. Perhaps powerlessness is the characteristic of all people of good will. Evil is as old as the world, and with the best will in the world it cannot be eradicated.
The followers of Jesus were also powerless facing their rulers, who were possessed by evil. And yet, despite everything, a few of them tried to assist Him to the end: the one disciple who knew what it was to die; the mother whose soul was pierced by a sword; the sinner who bestowed a deed of love on Him by anointing Him. Those were the only things they could do in their impotence: stand by Him, literally and figuratively.
When you carefully look, you see that evil in the world does not only physically mutilate, but that, even more often, the souls of people are mutilated and broken. But even then there still is something we can do in our powerlessness. When we cannot do anything with our hands to effectively help, the only way we have left to help is through our prayer, our intercession, our compassion. This invisible assistance, no matter how small and elusive, is a counterweight on the scale that threatens to collapse under the burden of evil in the world. And it alleviates the burden of Him who has to bear all, and who says: “What you did for the least of my brothers, that you did for me.”